Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sequencing tracks animal-to-human transmission of bacterial pathogens

25.03.2013
Researchers have used whole genome sequencing to reveal if drug-resistant bacteria are transmitted from animals to humans in two disease outbreaks that occurred on different farms in Denmark.

The results, which are published today in EMBO Molecular Medicine, confirm animal-to-human transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a disease-causing bacterium that carries the recently described mecC gene. The mecC gene is responsible for resistance to the penicillin-like antibiotic methicillin.

Drug-resistant bacterial infections pose a significant challenge to public health and may have severe and sometimes fatal consequences. As the costs of whole genome sequencing methods continue to plummet and the speed of analysis increases, it becomes increasingly attractive for scientists to use whole genome sequencing to answer disease-related questions.

“We used whole genome sequencing to see if we could determine if the two disease outbreaks were caused by the same bacterium and to investigate if the pathogens were transmitted from animal to humans or the other way around,” remarked Mark Holmes, from the University of Cambridge and the senior author on the paper. “At first glance, it seems reasonable to expect the same pathogen to be the source of the two outbreaks at the two geographically close locations.
By looking at the single differences in nucleotides or SNPs in the DNA sequences of each isolate, it became obvious that two different strains of bacteria were responsible for the two disease outbreaks. In one case, the results also clearly showed that the most likely direction of transmission was from animal to human.”

Methicillin-resistant S. aureus can lead to debilitating skin and soft tissue infec-tions, bacteremia, pneumonia and endocarditis. The researchers used an Illumina HiSeq sequencing system to take a close look at the nucleotide sequence of each pathogen. By comparing single differences in nucleotides in the two sequences (single nucleotide polymorphisms) they were able to reach conclusions about the identity of the pathogens and the routes of infection.

The researchers emphasize that while whole genome sequencing cannot replace other more traditional types of diseases analysis it can greatly increase the ability of scientists to distinguish between different pathogens as the cause of disease.

“Our findings demonstrate that the MRSA strains we studied are capable of transmission between animals and humans, which highlights the role of livestock as a potential reservoir of antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” remarked Ewan Harrison, one of the lead authors of the study.

Whole genome sequencing identifies zoonotic transmission of MRSA isolates with the novel mecA homologue mecC

Ewan M. Harrison, Gavin K. Paterson, Matthew T.G. Holden, Jesper Larsen, Marc Stegger, Anders Rhod Larsen, Andreas Petersen, Robert L. Skov, Judit Marta Christensen, Anne Bak Zeuthen, Ole Heltberg, Simon R. Harris, Ruth N. Zadoks, Julian Parkhill, Sharon J. Peacock, Mark A. Holmes
Read the paper: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/emmm.201202413/full

doi: 10.1002/emmm.201202413

Further information on EMBO Molecular Medicine is available at www.embomolmed.org

Media Contacts
Barry Whyte
Head | Public Relations and Communications
barry.whyte@embo.org

About EMBO
EMBO is an organization of more than 1500 leading researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences. The major goals of the organization are to sup-port talented researchers at all stages of their careers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information, and help build a European research environment where scientists can achieve their best work.

EMBO helps young scientists to advance their research, promote their international reputations and ensure their mobility. Courses, workshops, conferences and scientific journals disseminate the latest research and offer training in tech-niques to maintain high standards of excellence in research practice. EMBO helps to shape science and research policy by seeking input and feedback from our community and by following closely the trends in science in Europe.

Yvonne Kaul | EMBO Communications
Further information:
http://www.embo.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Two Group A Streptococcus genes linked to 'flesh-eating' bacterial infections
25.09.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Highest-energy cosmic rays have extragalactic origin

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Two Group A Streptococcus genes linked to 'flesh-eating' bacterial infections

25.09.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA'S OSIRIS-REx spacecraft slingshots past Earth

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>